Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) has been at odds with most of his Republican colleagues — and the President — over the last few months. On Thursday, he sat down with "CBS This Morning" to talk about a number of gun control measures he's hoping to push through, which seems to put him even more at odds with his Republican counterparts in Washington, D.C.
What Did Sen. Flake Propose?
Sen. Flake made a number of interesting calls for gun control that, quite honestly, make him seem like the furthest thing from a Second Amendment-supporting member of Congress.
Flake wants to:
• Ban bump stocks.
• Prevent those who are on the "no-fly list" from purchasing firearms.
• Raise the age to purchase a rifle from 18-years-old to 21.
A Call to the President
According to Flake, President Donald Trump needs to step up and advocate for some of the gun control policies that are being discussed in Congress. One particular part of his interview is disturbing though.
John Dickerson: Is he [the President] now on your side? Is he going to step up and what would that need to look like?
Jeff Flake: I hope he does. His leadership here is really critical if it's going to get through the House and the Senate. We had a similar meeting on immigration and that I was at and we heard a lot of good things that Tuesday and by that Thursday a lot of it had been walked back. I hope this time – and I do think it's a better chance this time — that the President will lead and really get out front on this. And there are a couple of items that we can make progress on.
Dickerson: And what does leadership look like? Does it mean he has to say, "I want A, B, C, D and E" to pass? Does it mean getting on the phone and calling Republicans? What does it exactly look like?
Flake: Certainly the later. Get on the phone and say, "I'm going to sign this if it comes to my desk." That gives Republicans in Congress cover. If the President is on their side they don't have to worry so much about activist groups or the NRA or grassroots organizations that may think differently. So, it's extremely important for the President to lead here.
What Flake is really saying is that he has no repercussions for voting in favor of gun control legislation because he's not running for re-election. His constituents are hardcore Second Amendment supporters and he knows that. He no longer has an incentive to keep his promise to his constituents because he's no longer having his back scratched in the form of votes and political contributions.
Politicians aren't afraid of the NRA. They're not afraid of losing political contributions from the NRA. What politicians are afraid of is losing the vote of pro-gun constituents, the same ones who are members of the NRA. Remember, the NRA is 5 MILLION members strong. Those members have to vote somewhere.
It's absurd to think that Second Amendment advocates will allow members of Congress to get away with pushing gun control simply because President Trump is on their side. That couldn't be further from true. Just like we elected Trump, we can easily elect someone else to fill his shoes. The same goes for Congressmen and women who talk out of both sides of their mouth.
A Cherry-Picked Version of Due Process
During part of the segment, Flake mentioned how shocked he was by President Trump's comments on taking away someone's guns and then worrying about due process later on.
Flake: Most remarkable was his [President Trump's] statement on due process. Uh, anything that we have introduced in the Congress respects due process. You've got to do that. So it was a bit astonishing to hear his language there. People around the table were kind of shaking their heads.
What makes Flake's statements beyond ironic? He's one of the main people pushing the 'No-Fly, No Buy' legislation, which would keep those who are on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms.
The FBI can put anyone on the 'no-fly' list for dubious reasons, as Charles C.W. Cooke from National Review previously explained.
Here's the problem with the 'No-Fly, No Buy' legislation: it puts someone on the list and then they have to go to a federal court to challenge them being on the list, instead of the other way around. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?"
Gun owners don't have want terrorists getting their hands on gun. We don't want terrorists to have any way of legally obtaining weapons of any kind. We do, however, want to make sure that every American is protected under the Constitution. We want to make sure that he or she can challenge their status on the 'no fly' list before they're ever put on the list.
When Flake talked about this bill on the floor of the Senate, he ensured that due process would take place.
Unless the text of the new 'No-Fly, No Buy' legislation changes, Americans will still fail to have any kind of due process before they're put on the 'no-fly' list. There's still an opportunity for law-abiding gun owners to fall through the cracks and have both their Fourteenth and Second Amendments violated.